Web 2.0 and Social Media

Communication between users, including conversations around user-generated content is central to almost all of the sites accessed via these searches to varying degrees. On sites like Facebook and Myspace, where all of the content is essentially communicative in messages, posts, and comments, etc., this is more obvious than the communication through reviews, ratings, and votes on eBay and YouTube.

According to Lev Manovich, "In Web 2.0 culture, often 'content', 'news' or 'media' becomes tokens used to initiate or maintain a conversation. Their original meaning is less important than their function as such tokens" (Manovich, 2009). This point is demonstrable in any social networking site. For instance, on Facebook, when a user posts a link to a video on someone's profile, the video is often less important than the social gesture that that user wished to convey. Similarly, the content of the comment on the status is a token; Facebook developers clearly recognized this function with its introduction of the 'like' button, which simplifies the process of social exchange encourages more interaction because of its casual nature.

Like Facebook, Youtube features a huge amount of social activity that stems from communication around user-produced content. Interestingly, on YouTube many of the tools and structure that create an accessible community, linking, indexing, searching, and invitations for participation through commenting, and networking are relatively undersized compared to sistersites that focus on aggregation of user-content like Flickr and Blogspot (Burgess, 2009). Because of this, people tend to link to YouTube content via more hospitable sites like Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter, instead of gathering and linking to videos within YouTube accounts. This is probably partially due to YouTube's almost complete permission in their Terms and Services to link and embed video, and the fact that YouTube was originally meant to be a site to upload and store videos exclusively (Burgess et al., 2009).

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